Celtic captain Paul Pierce’s three-pointer with 10:23 left in the third quarter Tuesday against the Charlotte Bobcats moved him into second place on the Celtics all-time scoring list passing Larry Bird.
Pierce began the season 381 points shy of Bird and passed the legend in dramatic fashion Tuesday night.
As the game wore on, the energy became frantic. Fans hung on every shot Pierce took collectively willing each of them to go in. What seemed like an eternity, as Pierce missed shot after shot, fans finally got what they’ve waited for as they watched the long-time Celtic achieve yet another career milestone.
“It was a relief. So much was hanging over me the last couple of days. Just hearing about it and knowing that you’ve got a game to play,” said Pierce, who finished with 15 points. “Just to be mentioned with him, with this organization, is a great honor.”
Here is a breakdown of the top-five scorers in Celtics franchise history:
1 John Havlicek 26,395
2 Paul Pierce 21,797
3. Larry Bird 21,791
4. Robert Parish 18,245
5. Kevin McHale 17,335
With Pierce passing Bird, two questions come to mind:
1. Can he pass Havlicek?
As it stands now, Pierce is 4,599 points away from moving into first place. For his career, Pierce has averaged 22.1 points per game.
At this pace, Pierce would need to average 22 points per game, for the next 208 games, in order to break the mark. That’s three and a half seasons of playing every game.
Realistically though, Pierce has averaged about 18.4 points per game over the last three seasons. While he typically remains relatively healthy, there is a noticeable decline in his points per game output.
At this pace, we are looking at averaging 18.4 points per game, over the next 250 games, in order for Pierce to move into first place.
Let’s consider an even greater rapid rate of decline, if Pierce averages 15 points per game, we are looking at 306 games until he can overtake the top spot.
Considering that Pierce is 34 years old, he may not be playing basketball long enough for a legitimate shot at the mark, but he did sum it up best when he offered:
“I think the fans would really appreciate another championship more than me passing Hondo,”
Also, big white elephant in the room time, Pierce may not even be a member of the Celtics past this season considering his contract and the need for the Celtics to get younger and more athletic.
2. Where does Pierce rank as an all-time Celtic?
1. Bill Russell
2. Larry Bird
3. John Havlicek
4. Bob Cousy
5. Paul Pierce